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The 5 huge reasons you should buy an Instant Pot, plus tips and recipes

People love the Instant Pot for lots of reasons. It's safe, it cooks slow-cooker recipes fast and it's a snap to clean.

Josh Miller/CNET

You've been toying with the idea of getting an Instant Pot for ages. This guide lays out all the reasons why you should finally take the plunge and buy one of these electronic multicookers.

From slow-cooked meals made quickly to baking cakes and desserts, there are so many reasons to love the Instant Pot. Here are the major reasons its popularity has risen to cult-like status -- and why you should consider owning one, too. 

Read more: The best Instant Pots in 2020: Duo, Ultra, Lux and more compared

1. It's not just a pressure cooker

First off, an Instant Pot isn't just an electric pressure cooker. As a true multicooker, it sears, browns and sautes food like a stove-top skillet. It also steams delicate items such as fish, eggs and vegetables. Instant Pots double as standalone electric rice cookers as well.

You can use them to bake bread, cakes and other sweets like custards, flan, even cheesecakes. Many Instant Pot models come with special yogurt modes. And yes, they function as slow cookers, too.

Read more at Chowhound: Quick and easy Instant Pot Meals

Instant Pots can gently steam delicate items like eggs, too.

Brian Bennett/CNET

2. You can cook elaborate meals in less than an hour

The Instant Pot hits food with a one-two punch of high pressure and heat. The result: Things that usually take all day to cook are done in hours. We're talking about tough cuts of meat like pork ribs, beef brisket and pork shoulder. The same goes for soups and stews, plus beans and grains. Normally they'd need to simmer for what feels like an eternity. Not so in the Instant Pot, which speeds up ordinary cook times by a factor of 3.

The Instant Pot has many safety features built right in.

Josh Miller/CNET

3. It's super-safe

The Instant Pot is no cantankerous old school manual pressure cooker. It has plenty of onboard safety features made possible through electronics. For example, a host of sensors help it self-regulate internal pressure and temperature. They're designed to ensure that the Instant Pot operates within preset safety limits.

Sensors also detect whether the lid is locked or not. And unless the cover is firmly clamped down, the Instant Pot won't take on pressure. Likewise, once the cooker's interior becomes pressurized, the lid automatically locks in place.

Factor in the numerous preprogrammed settings tailored to the type of food it cooks. All that makes Instant Pots light years ahead safety-wise of their ancient pressure cooker counterparts. Of course you still need to operate your appliance properly and with care.

You can cook so many things in an Instant Pot, from whole chickens to desserts.

Josh Miller

4. There are so many recipes

The internet has gone wild for the Instant Pot, with countless personal blogs, cooking websites and Facebook groups devoted to it. Together they also generate a copious and steady supply of recipes. From tacos to Italian beef sandwiches to Korean-style ribs and popcorn, chances are someone has tried it. There's even a recipe for making wine in your Instant Pot.

Here's a list of recipes every Instant Pot owner should know, and CNET's favorite Instant Pot recipes.

Most of the Instant Pot's parts are dishwasher safe.

Josh Miller

5. Easy cleanup

Probably the Instant Pot's best quality, besides fast cook times, is its simple cleanup. First of all, there's just one pot to worry about. Secondly, as long as you know the right methods, the inner pot is painless to wash by hand. In addition, the pot and the cooker's various parts are dishwasher-safe.

More Instant Pot advice